Thursday, January 15, 2009

Back in the saddle again...

Hey all -

After several long days of travel, and visits with some friends (including back in my old college town!), I arrived at the biological station yesterday. I'm pretty much settled in to the apartment I'm sharing here. It's nicer than I had hoped, which makes the little bit extra in rent more or less ok - I'm sleeping on a real bed instead of a Thermarest, and I've got a fair sized room which is close enough to one of the academic buildings that I can pick up mediocre wireless. My own bathroom if I use the one downstairs. And there's even a dining room and a living room, both with furniture! Haven't used them much yet since I'm so used to just existing in my own room. Kitchen is pretty nice too, although there isn't much space for my food and stuff - I moved into the top most shelves since my housemate is a good bit shorter than I.

Last night I got tired of unpacking around 6:30, and decided to take a power nap. 13.5 hours later I woke up, after a series of rather intense dreams (one of which involved the CIA!). WOW. I can't remember the last time I slept that long. I didn't even wake up to make dinner or anything! Felt very refreshed in the morning, if somewhat sore from staying in the same position all night. But I think I'm caught up on the sleep debt accrued from several days of travel, and late nights visiting with friends.

Today I settled back in at a desk in the lab I worked at all summer, and started the painful process of trying to remember where I left off on this research project 4 months ago. I thought I had left myself pretty good notes, but wow the dust is thick. Might actually end up being a good thing for the project though, because it's forced me to back away from the nitty gritty in your face business of trying to make code work, and developing new code for its own sake. I've got a chance right now to stop and think about the questions we were originally trying to answer, how well we've done with them, and what else needs doing. Talked with my advisor here for a while this afternoon, and apparently he thinks we're a lot farther along towards the requisite material for putting together a paper than I would have thought we were. This is quite heartening, and also confirms my suspicion that I have absolutely no sense for breaking science into paper-sized morsels. If left alone to my own devices, I'd probably spend years working on a project, and then belatedly realize that instead of one ginormous paper at the end, I could have gotten a bunch of pubs along the way. Sigh. Oh well, doing the research is the best part anyways. And there's still quite a bit to do on this project.

I'm going to try hard to not put too much time into this project right away - this will be hard. Once I get going I don't like to stop. But I really really do need to set aside time to do my own reading of papers, tinker with my own projects, and most importantly, start getting ready for grad school interviews. Gulp.

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